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Poster: cooperway4 Date: Jan 7, 2011 10:50pm
Forum: feature_films Subject: M - Eine Stadt sucht einen Moerder

M - Eine Stadt sucht einen Moerder was banned in Germany for "endangering public order and security" in 1933. This caused the film to fall into the control of the government by nullifying the rights and protections the authors had under copyright. The film would later become part of the Public Domain in Germany. Rights to the film were apparently never restored and it remains in the Public Domain in Germany to this day (and unless someone can find if the rights were restored and why it's now currently viewed as Public Domain in Germany, I'd say this is sufficient to squash the self-proclaimed copyright police).

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Poster: Video-Cellar Date: Jan 8, 2011 12:17am
Forum: feature_films Subject: Re: M - Eine Stadt sucht einen Moerder

The 1934 banning of the film, under the order of the Nazi party's propaganda ministry, did not impact the copyright status of the work in Germany. The only author right that it impacted would have been the right of public exploitation. There is nothing in German law that says that copyright cannot endure beyond the banning of a film.

While it is certainly true that the Nazi Government did nationalise the film industry during their reign, after the war the individual German studios and their archives were reprivatised. I can find no evidence that this brief period of national ownership either effects the films current copyright status in Germany, or their elegibility for GATT restoration, as the films effected were never under the control of the Alien Properties Custodian.

What is your evidence for the banning of a film in Germany equaling the loss of copyright?

What is your evidence in copyright having been taken by the German government and not returned to the original owners, their successors or heirs?

The website you linked was an advertisment for a series of showings of once banned films.

This post was modified by Video-Cellar on 2011-01-08 08:17:20

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Poster: Video-Cellar Date: Jan 8, 2011 2:48am
Forum: feature_films Subject: Re: M - Eine Stadt sucht einen Moerder

German law provided for continuance of copyright coverage for films caught up in the nationalisation of the film industry from the mid 30s-mid 40s. Only Nazi party propaganda documents were made property of the state.

Just some further information on the German owners of Lang's films;

- Ufa films. In the period immeadiately after the war Ufa was split in two. The studios were in East Germany and controlled by the Soviets and the Film archives were in the west and, when privatised, became the property of a consortium led by Duetsche Bank. In 1964, the archive was aquired by Bertlesmann (the company that later aquired RCA records). Ufa continues to produce films and TV today but the classic Ufa and Bavaria film catalogues have been controlled by the Freidrich Wilhelm Murnau Foundation since 1996.

-Nero-Film, AG films. In the post war reprivatisation of the German film industry the Nero-film catalgoue was aquired by Swiss company Atlantic Film, SA. Atlantic Film licenced the first German reissue of the film "M" in 1960 and have licensed all authorised DVD and Bluray releases such as the Criterion (US), Eureaka (UK), IML/Accent (Australia), BMG (Germany) releases. Atlantic Film still owns the Nero-Film catalogue, which they distribute through Praesens Film.

This post was modified by Video-Cellar on 2011-01-08 10:48:05

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Poster: tkFawcett Date: Jan 8, 2011 6:57pm
Forum: feature_films Subject: Re: M - Eine Stadt sucht einen Moerder

I am relatively new here and don't have your depth of knowledge of this subject matter. You have obviously put in countless hours in research and asserting and defending your arguments so forgive my curiosity but I wonder who you're representing? Are you a copyright holder? Do you represent copyright holders? Do you represent IA's legal defense team?
If you are not a CR holder and do not represent others claims, is not your opinion (albeit well researched) no more valid than the opinion of other posters here?
Why can't IA continue to host movies that it believes to be in the public domain until such time that an actual copyright holder or their representatives assert a claim and THEN remove the movie? As I said, I don't have your expertise in these matters but this all seems much ado about nothing until and unless an actual infringement claim is asserted.

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Poster: Video-Cellar Date: Jan 8, 2011 7:36pm
Forum: feature_films Subject: Re: M - Eine Stadt sucht einen Moerder

I didn't ask for the removal of the films. In one of the films cases the actual uploader has asked for the film's removal. I simply provided correct information about an extremely flawed list that was being used as a guide for the further uploading of films to the Archive. I have tried to present accross these few discussions researched, documented facts about the copyright status of a number of the works in question in the face of erroneous and, in some cases, completely fabricated assertions of public domain status. I have tried to give good, factual information on these films and not misguided and misleading information that leads other users into a false sense of security in using the works.

I am a collection owner at and have some administration rights, but I am not a representitive of the Archive or a representitive of any copyright owners group. The perspective I come from is both as both a copyright owner and as a user of public domain material. I understand what it is like to have your copyrights stolen and used contrary to your wishes. I also know the value of drawing from the public domain to create new works. When I was starting out, and had not independently studied the laws that effect copyright and the public domain, I was burned many times by relying on popular sources and methods of determining what was public domain.

For many people, the Internet Archive has become one of those popular sources. If a film is here in the Feature Films collection it is seen as an endorsement and determination of its public domain status. In fact, most of the citations for public domain status of works on sites like wikipedia is availability on In reality, the inclusion of a film here is no more a sign of its copyright status as any film included on any user uploaded video site. However, people trust the Internet Archive to give them legal, free entertainment.

While the DMCA in theory protects the Archive, it does not protect the uploaders and downloaders who use copyright material placed here - innocent infringement is not a valid defence where a clear statement of copyright is included in the film. It is unfair to break the trust of those users by duping them into becoming copyright infringers.

There are a number of users who, from time to time, lend their legislative knowledge and expertise to the archive forums in order to help clarify the more difficult aspects of determining the copyright status of works. Sometimes the contributions are appreciated, sometimes not. There seems to be some amount of conflict between the regular users of Feature Films Collections that want the site to remain the public domain film archive and those regular users who would like it to become an anything goes type of video site in the Youtube or Veoh style.

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Poster: tkFawcett Date: Jan 8, 2011 8:49pm
Forum: feature_films Subject: Re: M - Eine Stadt sucht einen Moerder

Thanks for the additional explanation as to your motives and background. You used the phrase "innocent infringement", which not only seems to be an oxymoron but also seems to put an unreasonable burden of responsibility on the average person. Does every uploader (or downloader) have to posess your knowledge of copyright law? I have to confess that with the quality of most movies here I can't begin to read the fine print of most legal notices.
In any case, thanks again!

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Poster: Video-Cellar Date: Jan 8, 2011 9:04pm
Forum: feature_films Subject: Re: M - Eine Stadt sucht einen Moerder

You're welcome.

Its true that "innocent infringement" is something of an oxymoron. Strangely, it is one that was codified in the copyright law:

If a notice of copyright in the form and position specified by this section appears on the published copy or copies to which a defendant in a copyright infringement suit had access, then no weight shall be given to such a defendant's interposition of a defense based on innocent infringement in mitigation of actual or statutory damages

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Poster: tkFawcett Date: Jan 8, 2011 9:25pm
Forum: feature_films Subject: Re: M - Eine Stadt sucht einen Moerder

I guess the old saying goes: "Ignorance of the law excuses no man" --John Seldon, English jurist, (1584 - 1654)